“IQ took time to learn about me so that they could find a perfect match for me during my time studying abroad. From the every beginning they answered all my questions and made my parents feel safe sending off to another country. This IQ placed me with an amazing host family (my host sister became like a real sister to me) in an amazing location and school.
Madison from the United States
Studied in The Netherlands, 2014
Q. What was something interesting that you did during your program?
A. Every weekend I would go to a new city in the Netherlands. My host mom would take me to all the museums and tell me about the history of each city. In my room my host family gave me a huge map of the Netherlands to hang on my wall. For each new city I went to, they gave me a little bow to put on the map. I loved seeing all the different places I had explored. I am part Dutch. My Dutch roots come from the city of Wormer. I got to visit Wormer and see where my ancestors came from! Even though it was not the most impressive city (like Amsterdam, Delft, or Utrecht) it was still very special for me to see. It was truly an incredible experience!
Q. What is something that you learned about yourself?
A. I have honestly learned so much from this experience. I learned to trust alternative lifestyles and not hold on to the culture I am accustomed to. At first, I felt little uncomfortable getting used to the Dutch food and people. But as soon as I embraced the culture, I no longer felt like a tourist- I felt like a citizen. It only took me a week to feel situated and comfortable! I also learned how to “put myself out there”. Here in America I already have friends and I know everyone at school. But in order to quickly make friends over seas I had to make the first move. I learned that it’s okay to invite yourself to things in the beginning and invite people you just meet to hang out. At first it feels awkward, but then I was invited to hang out all the time! The Dutch are so kind, it was always fun no matter what we did together. And now I can say some of my best friends live in Holland.
Q. How did you share your culture with others?
A. The religion teacher gave me a really cool opportunity to share in front of 12 different classes! He asked me share about my life in California and my faith as a Christian (since it was a religious education class). I made a power point with photos from all different areas of my life. A lot of the power point talked about American culture and the differences between America and the Netherlands. The classes ranged from young kids to teenagers. At the end of each class, students got to ask me questions about my life. I loved sharing my culture with others!
Q. Why should students participate in a IQ?
A. IQ took time to learn about me so that they could find a perfect match for me during my time studying abroad. From the every beginning they answered all my questions and made my parents feel safe sending off to another country. IQ placed me with an amazing host family (my host sister became like a real sister to me) in an amazing location and school. I recommend studying abroad to anyone looking for a new and beautiful perspective on life. Stepping into another culture and fully embracing it gave me so many memorable experiences and lifelong friendships. Whether it’s a littler extra work or stressful at some points, I guarantee it is 100% worth it!